The all-new SRAM DB8 mountain bike disc brakes are budget-friendly CODES, sharing the same brake pads and overall design, but with a few key changes.

At $137 per wheel, the DB8 is $30 less expensive than the base-level CODE R. For that, you get a stamped alloy lever (versus forged) and tooled reach adjust (versus tool-free). You’ll have to upgrade to the CODE RSC for pad contact adjust, bearing pivots (versus bushings)

The big difference is the brake fluid used. SRAM’s brakes have always been DOT 5.1, but this one’s running Mineral Oil. So, are they rolling back years of design and marketing? No, not at all.

sram db8 mountain bike disc brakes with mineral oil

“At this price point, we knew the user was looking for a longer service interval and absolute simplicity,” SRAM MTB PR manager Chris Mandell told us. “These are a product you’ll primarily see coming as OEM spec on bikes.”

Meaning, they’re not aimed at higher-end riders looking for an upgrade, though we could see them being a decent option for anyone seeking a solid 4-piston brake. In fact, they say the DB8 should deliver about 10% less power than a current CODE brake, but feel very similar.

sram db8 mountain bike disc brakes with mineral oil

So, why stick to DOT fluid for CODE, G2, etc.?

“Because of the temperature ranges and composition of DOT fluid, the seals we can use are lower friction and higher performance than what we could use for a mineral oil brake,” Mandell says.

He also pointed us to their recent videos about brakes, which tell their story and give a bigger picture overview of brakes and this first one really explains the key differences between the two fluids and how they impact design and materials…and, ultimately, performance:

…and this one for setup, along with an explanation for that dreaded squeal:

Both videos are absolutely worth a watch.

SRAM.com

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Renata Ricotta
Renata Ricotta
2 months ago

What….! I wonder how many people will put DOT in here. Also, can it just use shimano mineral oil?

Jason D West
Jason D West
2 months ago
Reply to  Renata Ricotta

I would think so. I use Pentosin 7.1 for my Shimano brakes and that works great. So i bet you can get creative and use different things

Greg
Greg
2 months ago
Reply to  Renata Ricotta

The bleed fittings are totally different on these vs their DOT brakes, so the syringes can’t get mixed up. Also it says MINERAL in big letters right next to the ports.

Hexsense
Hexsense
2 months ago

Mineral versus DOT.
An age old DeBate that Sram let you DB8 with your wallet.

brakeuser
brakeuser
2 months ago

“In fact, they say the DB8 should deliver about 10% less power than a current CODE brake, but feel very similar.”

Huh?

Shafty
Shafty
2 months ago

This is a bit misleading: “the seals we can use are lower friction and higher performance than what we could use for a mineral oil brake”, it’s really *at this price point*. That’s the takeaway here, they wanted to slot in a lower tier, but there’s a minimum cost when you retain 90% of the design. The volume required to produce high quality custom HNBR seals, might be prohibitive for a single product, so maybe they did use more typical nitrile seals to save cost, and are admitting that’s a compromise.

They could have made a cheaper DOT brake, it’s been done, but it’s more difficult to do it well with 4 pistons. They’re almost trying to sneak in an argument that mineral oil(not a standardized type of fluid) is lower performance, but fluid type isn’t usually the limiting factor for bicycle brakes.

This is a weird product for them to make. I absolutely guarantee several people get DOT fluid into them, or at the very least use Shimano mineral oil and it reacts poorly. Stay in your lane SRAM.

freakyfastfil
freakyfastfil
2 months ago
Reply to  Shafty

mineral oil does have a narrower performance window tho. DOT fluid has to perfrom in all sorts of temperatures and conditions, but mineral oil’s operating window has it’s limits. I’m may be an outlier but i’ve ridden on cold midwestern winter days and had my shimano brakes turn to slush, to the point where the leaver wouldn’t return after i braked.

for most people it probably won’t make a difference tho, they aren’t pushing the bike hard enough to notice a performance difference and having to do less maintance on a bike that sits in a garage for 9months/12 makes sense

Shafty
Shafty
2 months ago
Reply to  freakyfastfil

Aviation hydraulic fluid is often rated to -60F, with a generous viscosity index, so I’m not seeing it. Thermal management is crucial for either type, given the prevalence of phenolic pistons. Maintenence is a valid point, but I really gotta think it’s about the money for them. Better margin with this design can mean broader OEM placement. Better to spin it as a feature for marketing.

freakyfastfil
freakyfastfil
2 months ago
Reply to  Shafty

i think it’s a bit disingenuous to compare aviation hydraulic fluid to your brakes. first off aviation fluid is often under constant pressurization, which completely changes its thermal properties, and not all aviation fluid are mineral oil based.

so unless you’re proposing i should put aviation fluid into my brakes the point still stands. shimano fluid froze in the lines for me, yes it was one of the coldest days of the year (-40F) but i still had to get to work.

Zoltan
Zoltan
2 months ago
Reply to  freakyfastfil

That’s Shimano mineral oil which did that. There is a vast range of mineral oil you can use in mineral oil brakes. For example, I prefer Redline LikeWater, which is much thinner and does just fine at very low temperatures.

Cheese
Cheese
2 months ago

About freaking time. Now sell all of your road brakes with mineral oil. Or is SRAM pretending customers prefer shorter required maintenance intervals?

Wayne
Wayne
2 months ago

I’ll buy these simply because they use mineral oil!

whatever
whatever
2 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

I will stay with Shimano because they have always used mineral oil for as long as I have been into bikes with hydraulic brakes. Then there are other factors too.

Joseph Glaze
Joseph Glaze
1 month ago

Hmmmm…I’ll bet Shimano will not introduce a brake that uses DOT fluid